What Happens When You Buy a House with Open Permits in Colorado?

House with Open permits
House with Open permits

Buying a house with open permits can be a nightmare when buying a new home. When a homeowner requests a permit with the county or local government in Colorado, the permit stays with the property. So, it becomes the responsibility of the buyer upon sale.

Why do you need permits?

Home improvements and remodeling projects often require permits from the county and local governments. For example, in El Paso County, Colorado, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department issues building permits. Work done without a license may not be up to code, and insurers might not cover the work. 

Simple cosmetic improvements like painting and carpeting usually don’t require permits. However, major renovation projects do require a permit. If you are unsure, check with the building department.

  • HVAC systems
  • Fireplaces and stove
  • Furnaces, boilers, and water heaters
  • Finishing basements
  • Decks and porches
  • In-ground Pools
  • Roofing 
  • Additional rooms 
  • Detached structures

House with Open Permits: What You Need to Know

When it comes to home construction or renovation, securing a permit is a necessary first step. Once the permit is obtained, it remains open until all work has been successfully completed and has passed the final inspection. However, it’s important to note that a house with open permits can become a significant issue, especially if the permitted work has not been properly completed or inspected.

The local building department typically monitors which buildings have active permits for construction or renovation. These permits are tracked meticulously to ensure that all work adheres to the relevant building codes and safety regulations. If you’re a homeowner, it’s advisable to keep an eye on the status of your permits, and you can easily do this by checking the building department’s website.

But what happens when work doesn’t pass the final inspection or there’s a mistake in the paperwork? In these situations, the permit remains open, essentially leaving a black mark on the property. An open permit suggests that there is uncompleted work or that the completed work was not up to code, both of which can affect the value and safety of the home.

A house with open permits can pose serious challenges for homeowners. Not only can it affect your ability to sell or refinance your home, but it can also lead to legal complications and additional expenses. Moreover, if work was done without the proper permits or inspections, you may be required to open walls or ceilings so that the work can be inspected, adding to your costs and inconveniences.

In the event that you find yourself in possession of a house with open permits, you’ll need to take steps to close those permits as quickly as possible. This could involve hiring a licensed contractor to correct any issues or complete unfinished work, scheduling a new inspection, and ensuring that all necessary paperwork is accurately completed and submitted.

Buying a House with Open Permits

Permits stay with the property. So, if you buy a home with open permits, you become the responsible party. While unfinished work doesn’t affect the title, it can cost time and money down the road. For example, you won’t be approved for additional construction work until the first one is closed. 

How can I search for open permits in El Paso County?

Fortunately, there is an easy way to check on permit status. Pikes Peak Regional Building Department’s website has an easy search function. Just type in the address and see if there are any outstanding permits. It’s always a good idea to do a quick search before closing on a home.

Closing Permits

If you discover a previously unknown open permit on your home, you can get a contractor to finish the work, or talk to the Pikes Peak Regional Building department to do it yourself. Still, not everyone knows to run a search for open permits before closing on a home. At First Priority Home Inspections, we are here to help make sure there are no unwanted surprises when buying a new home. So, we run a permit search on every home we inspect. Give us a call at 719-491-1520.

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